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Four Important Questions to Ask Your New Nanny Family

by Katrina Oliver

Finding a new family to work with as a nanny is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. You're excited to get to know the parents and children and get started on a new routine, but it's also so hard to know from the outset whether you and this family are going to be a good match. That's why it's so important to sit down with a family before committing to a job and making sure that all of you are on the same page before starting a new care arrangement.

"How do you best like to communicate? What kind of updates would you like?"

Everyone communicates in a different way. Some people are going to want updates about their child's care multiple times a day, especially if you're caring for infants and young toddlers. You might offer to send photos throughout the day, text updates, and put together a full report of the day's activities before you leave. While that's a great comfort for some families, some don't want it at all! Plenty of parents will trust you enough to not worry much about what you're doing while they're gone, and would rather not have their phone blowing up throughout the day. Make sure you're on the same page beforehand so everyone knows what to expect.

"How would you like to manage payment?"

Payment is often such an awkward conversation to start that it never gets discussed, which is a recipe for disaster! Make sure that you not only agree on a pay rate but also on a method of payment. Are you going to be paid once a week? Every two weeks? Once a month? How are you going to document the hours you have worked, and how would parents like to receive that information? Will they pay you with a check, cash, or via a digital payment service? Are you going to be registered legally as an employee, or do you have a different plan for your tax filing? All of these are critical questions to have answered before the first day of care.

"Are there any health or dietary concerns I should know about?"

Any allergies, dietary restrictions, or health concerns need to be discussed upfront before you're left with a child in your care. You might expect that parents will bring that up if it's a concern, but many parents haven't left their child in care before and aren't sure of what information is or isn't relevant. It's your job as the nanny to be positive you have all the information you need, so if you have a child in your care with a peanut allergy, a vegetarian dietary restriction, or asthma, it's important that you are clear beforehand on what their needs are and what to do in an emergency.

"Do you have any concerns you'd like to discuss?"

Remember that as nervous as you are to start working with a new family, they're also likely nervous to have a new nanny. Whether it's their first time working with in-home care or they've worked with several nannies before, trusting a new person with your own child can be anxiety-inducing. Make sure before you start that the parents have had a chance to communicate any needs or concerns they have. When both parties can have open lines of communication and be honest, you're setting yourself up for a fantastic placement where everyone is happy!


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